I love Equal Exchange teas. Sure, they’re bagged, but the taste is so well-balanced and natural. I first tried the Darjeeling and chai pyramid bags around 2009. Excuse the non-tea review, but the box is adorable. It’s the kind of box that you’d want to reuse as a box for paperclips/hairpins/cotton balls/sewing scraps/anything else that can fit in there. I used my boxes until they kind of died (and then recycled them).
Anyway, EE does Darjeeling well. The leaves they use really live up to the “champagne of tea” moniker. Sourced from small tea gardens in Northeast India, they work off of a sustainable fair trade business model which makes this tea that much nicer. I admit that I’ve only had a few other darjeelings, but there definitely is a difference for me. This tea has a warm taste that’s not bitter, even if I oversteep. However, the taste is also delicate and smooth. It’s really good with milk, but I prefer no sweetener.
Honestly, this is my Darjeeling. I’m not going to accept any other substitutes, even if it’s the most heralded Darjeeling, picked by magical winged kittens on the most auspicious day of the year in the most sacred of mountain promontories. It’s that good.
(PS~ I’m not sure if this allowed on Steepster, but the tea.coop site has a great video of Darjeeling being made by the Potong tea garden. EE will donate 1 tea bush to Potong for every view in October. More tea bushes = more nom!)